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Archive for the tag “Ray Farmer”

Hue Jackson Takes Over In Cleveland

(photo courtesy of the Associated Press)

(photo courtesy of the Associated Press)

Hue Jackson had a bevy of options to become a head coach this offseason. As soon as the Cincinnati Bengals’ season was over, the interviews started. Up first was the San Francisco 49ers and next were the Cleveland Browns. The Giants were trying to get in on him too as he was one of the hottest commodities out there to be a head coach. But the choice began to get clearer when the second interview was set for Hue with the Cleveland Browns. The Giants, although they tried hard, were not even granted an interview with Jackson in favor of him taking the second interview with Cleveland. And in that second interview, it was apparent that he was the guy they wanted. Hue, for his part, could have played the game a little more and waited to give an answer to all that were interested. But Jackson heard some things he wanted to hear in the meeting with the Browns. And now Jackson will get the opportunity to pick up where he left off in terms of being a head coach.

The biggest thing that Cleveland needs is players. The team has had draft pick after draft pick not produce for them. The most recent ones have been picked by former Browns GM Ray Farmer. Needless to say, the Browns have not had much luck developing draft picks. With Jackson, he may not develop them as much, but he will be the guy that has some power over who gets picked up in the draft. Jackson is rumored to have taken this job because of the power over personnel. And with that caveat in addition to being the head coach, it would have been hard for Jackson to refuse. The 49ers or Giants clubs would not even come near giving personnel power to any new head coach. There are some that dislike this deal because it gives a head coach more to worry about: general management. But the difference between Jackson and a guy like Chip Kelly (who was given personnel control in his second season) is that Hue has been in the NFL as a coach while Chip was a college coach trying to adjust. In Cleveland, he essentially will be allowed to make the decisions necessary personnel-wise. And if he is successful at doing so, then he will end up bring back Cleveland in football.

One of the first personnel decisions Jackson will have to make is on his quarterback position. Quarterback Johnny Manziel was drafted two years ago along with CB Justin Gilbert. The belief there in Cleveland is that Manziel would end up being the starting quarterback for this team. Well, things have not worked out that well when it comes to Johnny. The youngster has been on television for all things but playing quarterback. One of the conditions that helped Hue Jackson agree to being the head coach in Cleveland was to move on from Johnny Manziel. He has had enough of him after viewing him from afar and the time has come to turn the page. Hue could go one of three ways to get a quarterback. He could go get a quarterback with the 2nd pick in the NFL Draft (presumed to be California quarterback Jared Goff). Hue could also let Josh McCown come back healthy so he could back up the rookie. Another option is trading for a young quarterback in a backup situation, like Zach Mettenberger for example. Either situation would probably give them some sense of being steady at a position of need.

Another big task for Hue is the defense. The draft picks over the last five years have not been as great as they thought. Names like outside linebacker Barkevious Mingo and cornerback Justin Gilbert have not lived up to the expectations from where they were picked. And the only defender that many worry about is cornerback Joe Haden. This defense has no identity and needs retooling in the worst way. Hue’s forte is not defense, but he has to hire an intuitive mind to work with what he has and make it work. If he is able to make the right hire, then the picks and free agents will fall into play, often as if they are done effortlessly. Free agency and trades can help the Browns rebuild. But the main thing is to set the base from within. That means making the correct personnel calls in terms of Cleveland so that they can mimic his former employer: the Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals have thrived over the last few years due to their strong drafts. An if Hue can do some of the same things, then the sky is the limit

The Cleveland Browns got one of the best head coaching candidates out there in Hue Jackson. No one thought this would happen but it did. And now we have a team fighting for relevance and getting that elusive head coach that many wanted but could not have. We shall see if this move makes the Browns better or worse.

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The General’s New Year’s Resolutions In Sports

(photo courtesy of Kelly L Cox/USA Today Sports)

(photo courtesy of Kelly L Cox/USA Today Sports)

A new year is upon us and like usual, there are many that have made New Year’s Resolutions. You see some of the usual ones that involve working out posted everywhere, but what if teams and professional athletes had resolutions and we all had access to them? No one knows if some of these professional athletes made some resolutions for the year, but if they were to make them, this is what they could have been. Without further ado, here are some New Year’s Resolutions the General has for some people, teams and players.

Chicago Bulls-Remember Who You Are

A lot was made of Jimmy Butler’s comments in regards to his coach, Fred Hoiberg, and him needing to coach them harder. But one other thing the star guard spoke about was the team needing to play harder like they have in previous seasons. And he could not have been more correct. The Bulls have no identity at all this season and the effort seems to not be there on both ends consistently. For them to even compete in the East, they need to get back to the basics. Of course there is a new coach there, but the same pieces remain. For their sake, they better hope some things get better soon for them.

Markieff Morris- More Patience and Composure

The talented forward for Phoenix has had an interesting season. He watched his twin brother get traded to Detroit this offseason and it has seemingly had an adverse effect on him. He wanted to leave and demonstrated so during the offseason but that cooled down once the season started. But even now, he has had temper tantrums like throwing a towel at the coach. And like any player that has issues with a coach, he has been in and out of the doghouse. One thing he may want to realize is he is not making himself look any better with these tantrums. Other teams are watching. And eventually the talent-trouble formula will not be in his favor. Get it together Mr. Morris. Of you could be calling it a career quicker than you want.

Los Angeles Lakers-Atone for your mistakes

The Los Angeles Lakers have been employing Byron Scott for almost three years now. And with this team as young as they are, it seems like Scott hasn’t got the memo to play the young players so they can get better. So since he seems to not get the memo, why not let him go now? Kobe is about to exit Byron. Lou Williams is not a starting point guard in the NBA. Larry Nance Jr is not a starter in the NBA. The Lakers’ brass needs to end this science experiment with Byron as head coach and do so as soon as possible.

Dwight Howard- Find out who you are

Dwight Howard has had the potential to be one of the best big men in the NBA for some time now. But he has never lived up to it. Instead, he has been known as an unhappy big man. Dwight has visions of himself being more involved in the offense in Houston just like he had in Los Angeles for his one year there. But in each situation, he has yet to realize that he is the not the focal point of his team. It was Kobe in LA and now it is Harden in Houston. He will not be the main weapon on this Houston team because he does not have a consistent offensive game. Maybe if he had that, he would have a gripe. But right now, Dwight may want to focus on just being a rebounder, dunker and defensive presence because that is what he is.

Cleveland Browns- Take control of your situation

The team seems to be in disarray yet again. There seems to be no direction there and the front office and management seem to be on two different pages. The talk has been that general manager Ray Farmer will be done after this last game. But with the Browns, you never know. This one reads like a soap opera, so maybe one day they will get some direction and move forward. But it all starts from ownership. Ownership here has never asserted itself and taken control of the situation. And this mess will continue if Haslam and company do not do so.

Detroit Lions- See things clearer

The Detroit Lions had a rough start to the season. They were 1-6 out of the gate and there were many disappointed fans of that team. But the team righted the ship and played well down the stretch after they fired their offensive coordinator and members of their front office. Some saw this optimism and have thought that it is time to give Jim Caldwell more time. Well, those that don’t want that better hope that does not happen. Detroit fans and ownership, don’t be fooled by the finish of that team up there. They still have a ton of issues there and keeping Caldwell is not going to help fix those issues at all.

Chip Kelly-Learn how to play well with others

Chip Kelly almost completed his third year of coaching the Philadelphia Eagles when the plug was pulled on him by the organization this week. Aside from some of the questionable moves he made as the general manager this season, it was his icy relationship with people around him that helped get him fired in Philly. He reportedly would not even speak to players in the building, often leaving them feeling uncomfortable. He more than likely will receive another shot at some point (at the college level or in the NFL). But in order for him to succeed, he has to learn to value the people around him. He apparently did not in Philly. If he is able to learn that along with other things, then he could be successful in his next go round.

San Francisco 49ers- Change your course

The team has had issues all season long. Of course most of those were linked to the departures of their head coach after the 2014 season and the loss of players to retirement. But even more than that, the team just seemed like it just could not get any form of consistency all year long. For them, the consistency needs to start with what direction they will be going in. This was obviously not what the 49ers expected and this was unacceptable in their eyes. The stability starts from the top and it will be interesting to see what they do to stabilize this team and get better.

Chicago Cubs-Seize the opportunity

The Chicago Cubs were a team that many expected to not be ready to achieve until the 2016 season. But they surprised everyone this past season and made it to the National League Championship Series. They lost the game, but they were ahead of schedule. And this offseason, they acquired a few pieces to help take them to the top. The thing that Cubs fans have been waiting on forever is a championship. And this year is their best chance to do it. The best thing for them to do is take advantage of this opportunity when it presents itself. If not, this chance could pass them by quickly.

Pete Rose and Major League Baseball-

Time and time again we hear about Pete Rose and whether or not he should be in the Hall Of Fame. Well, he was denied again and the argument ensued as to why he should or should not be in the Hall. Well, both sides need to come together and make this happen one way or the other. Rose has to come clean about everything and Major League Baseball has to value an all-time great before he passes away. At some point, Major League Baseball has to let him in. And while Major League Baseball is trying to take the moral ground, they may want to take a look at how they conveniently looked the other way during the Steriod era. I bet that would change some viewpoints there on all those taking that moral compass out involving Major League Baseball.

 

2015 has come to an end and 2016 is now upon us. And all of us have great dreams of making things happen in this new year. And some of us even made resolutions. Hopefully for these teams, players and people, they make some changes within themselves to make this year a great one for themselves.

For more sports talk, feel free to follow me on Twitter or check me out on Facebook.

It’s Sink Or Swim With Johnny Manziel In Cleveland

 (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

The Cleveland Browns have been an utter disappointment. Year after year they have failed to even make a run towards relevance. Heading into 2015, the signing of veteran quarterback Josh McCown was sold as a piece that will help them march towards relevance. Well, looking at McCown this year, he has had an alright year, but nothing special enough to take this Browns team to another level. And just like many thought would happen, the Browns are being the Browns again, as the long-standing fans of this team suffer through another tough season. But along with the struggles of the team, there has been a power struggle between the front office and the coaching staff. The coaching staff has been behind playing the veteran quarterback Josh McCown if he is healthy. The front office, however, has been wanting Johnny Manziel to get some time with the starting unit. And although Manziel has gotten some time with the unit this year, it was only because McCown could not play due to injury. The coaching staff, led by head coach Mike Pettine, had the upper hand in who played quarterback. But now it seems the tide has turned. Johnny Manziel has recently been named the starting quarterback of the Cleveland Browns for the remainder of the season. And from the sound of it, the decision was almost forced upon the coaching staff by the front office of the team, led by general manager Ray Farmer. There is no doubt a power struggle going on in Cleveland as well as a disconnect between both front office and the coaching staff. And this decision to go with Manziel could affect a lot of things in the organization.

Manziel was an exciting player when he was in college. The former Heisman Trophy winner played the game almost like he was the quarterback in a pickup football game. And many times, he made plays that he could probably not repeat. The excitement Manziel brought in college fascinated the front office of the Browns so much that they moved back into the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft to take him. Their thinking was he could be the quarterback to lead them eventually. But the team and the coaching staff have found ways to keep him on the bench behind Hoyer last year and McCown this year. With him now getting the rest of the snaps to finish the season, the Browns will now be able to find out what they do (or don’t’) have in Manziel. The fact of the matter was he was wasting away on the bench for Cleveland. And for someone the organization traded up to get, they needed to find out if he could be an asset to the franchise. By finding out what they have, the organization can decide what they need to do with the quarterback position. If he performs well and they want to keep riding with him, they can keep him and add to other spots. But if he performs poorly, then it will allow them to get ready to explore other options knowing they did their due diligence. It may be admitting they were wrong in drafting him, but it is better to find out now rather than later.

What the Browns may find out is they have a guy that can make plays at the NFL level. Manziel has shown some growth from his rookie year to this year. In his rookie year, Manziel was quick to scramble and abandon the pocket, even when there was no pressure at all. By doing this, he would destroy the integrity of the play and make a negative play happen. And along with the negative plays, he would also take on unnecessary hits from defenses that could have injured him. In this season, he has looked much smoother as a NFL quarterback. Instead of being so quick to abandon the pocket, he is now looking over the field and reading his options. And as a result, he has had more success than last year quarterbacking the team. The presence he has shown in the pocket this year is definitely an upgrade over last season. The thing that will be monitored is not only how he does stat-wise, but how he commands the team. Plenty have questioned the antics and attitude of Manziel over time. And we all know the list of questionable decisions that he has made not involving football. But the decisions on the field and how the players accept him will be a part of the determining factor on his tenure in Cleveland. If he is able to get the players behind him, then that will help him show that he can lead this team. If not, then he is gone after the season.

The front office has made their play and they are choosing to ride with Manziel the rest of the year.. But along with Manziel getting the start, the end could be signaling near for Pettine as head coach in Cleveland. Once your power to make decisions has been taken away, that is when the end is near. Pettine can ask Colts head coach Chuck Pagano about that one if he wants to. Manziel is getting his shot, but he is doing more than playing for his job. He is playing for others jobs in the front office. We shall see if Manziel, Pettine or Farmer are left standing after this move made today.

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